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Darien First-Degree Criminal Mischief Lawyer

First-degree criminal mischief is a serious felony in Darien that carries the potential for jail time. For help building a defense, contact a top defense attorney today.

What is Criminal Mischief in the First Degree in Darien?

The degree of a criminal mischief charge in Connecticut depends on the value of the property allegedly damaged. If an individual is accused of causing $1,500 of damage or more, the charge is first-degree criminal mischief. Additionally, someone can be arrested for this offense if police believe they damaged property belonging to the state or a public utility. Notably, this a felony offense, while the other degrees are misdemeanors.

One example of a first-degree criminal mischief charge would be someone who damages a police monitoring system, like the ankle bracelets used for house arrest. Police may also charge someone with this offense if they damage a fire hydrant or public alarm system.

What are the Penalties for First-Degree Criminal Mischief?

A first-degree criminal mischief charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of at least $5,000, and up to three years on probation. On top of the fine, the person may also be required to pay back the amount of damage they have done.

There is no mandatory minimum jail time for a criminal mischief conviction, however, so the judge is free to give no jail time. During a sentencing hearing, an experienced criminal mischief lawyer could argue that the person deserves a lesser sentence.

Is Intent an Element of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree?

Yes. To secure a conviction on first-degree criminal mischief charges, the prosecution must prove that the individual intentionally damaged property. Intent is a difficult element to prove, however, and defense attorneys often use that fact when negotiating with the prosecutor. They will often argue that the prosecutor cannot prove intent and therefore could not win in front of a judge or a jury.

The defense attorney could also offer evidence to refute the prosecution’s assertion that the individual intended to cause damage. That can be done through testimony, witness statements, or video surveillance footage.

What Qualities Should I Look for in a Darien First-Degree Criminal Mischief Attorney?

When searching for an attorney for a first-degree criminal mischief case in Darien, you should look for someone who knows the Darien Police Department and the Stamford Superior Court system well. It is important to hire someone who understands how to navigate the courthouse and its nuances and who knows the prosecutors and the judges. This knowledge goes a long way in knowing how to negotiate the best possible disposition of the case. To learn how an attorney could help in your situation, call Mark Sherman Law.